Latest News in Black Art features updates and developments in the world of art and related culture

ROBERT COLESCOTT, “1919,” 1980 (acrylic on canvas, 71 3/4 x 83 7/8 inches) will be auctioned by Bonhams New York with an estimate of $3 million to $5 million. | © Robert H. Colescott Separate Property Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


A major painting by Robert Colescott (1925-2009) will be auctioned by Bonhams New York in a single-lot sale on Sept. 8, 2023. Coming to market directly from the artist’s family, “1919” (1980) was featured in the recent traveling retrospective “Art and Race Matters: The Career of Robert Colescott.” The work is a symbolic self-portrait and family narrative about race and identity. Bonhams has estimated “1919” at $3 million-$5 million, which if reached would make it among the top two most expensive paintings by the artist at auction. (6/21) | More


The Museum of London appointed Jennifer Francis director of external affairs, overseeing the communications, digital innovation, and development teams. She joins the museum from Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton, N.J., where she served as director of brand and marketing (2020-2023). Previously, Francis held positions at the Louvre Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Pennsylvania, and the Royal Academy of Arts in London. The Museum of London closed to visitors in December as it transitions to a new location in West Smithfield, where it will host a festival in 2025. In 2026, the museum will open to the public under a new name, The London Museum. (6/23) | More


Historian and Collector Charles L. Blockson (1933-2023). | Courtesy Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection via Special Collections—African American Studies at Temple University


Life-long collector Charles L. Blockson (1933-2023) died on June 14 at his home in home in Gwynedd, Pa. Blockson began collecting books and building an archive of African American history and culture as a child, after a white teacher told him Black people had no notable history. Blockson was only in the fourth grade. A graduate of Pennsylvania State University where he played football, his love of collecting eclipsed his affinity for sports. He became a historian, prolific author, and expert on the Underground Railroad and Great Migration. His life’s work is housed in the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection at Temple University and the Charles L. Blockson Collection of African-Americana and the African Diaspora at Pennsylvania State University. (6/22) | Philadelphia Inquirer

Heiko-Thandeka Ncube (1991-2023), a rising artist, writer, and filmmaker, died June 9 in Berlin. The Hub, a nonprofit focusing on art education projects where he was a board member, reported the news on Instagram. The statement read in part: “Ncube was an outstanding artist, valued colleague and friend who wore his heart on his sleeve.” Born in Harare, Ncube was of Zimbabwean and German descent. In February, Ncube’s film “The early rains which wash away the chaff before the spring rains” premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival, where it was well received. Describing his practice on his website, Ncube said he “investigates how cultures derive meaning through suffering and how narratives, drawn out of collective memories, coincide with acts of violence.” (6/19) | Contempoary And


Uzodinma Iweala, 2023. Shown with a graphic textile work featuring a hair-braiding pattern by Nontsikelelo Mutiti that was included in a recent exhibition at The Africa Center, “States of Becoming.” | Photo by Elias Williams


Independent Curators International in New York announced Uzodinma Iweala and the team at The Africa Center in East Harlem will receive the 2023 Leo Award. Named for Leo Castelli, the influential art dealer and early supporter of ICI, the award recognizes “those who have shown extraordinary support to curators and artists and created new infrastructures that serve a broader art world.” The honor will be presented at ICI’s Fall Benefit and Auction on Oct. 26. Iweala has been CEO of The Africa Center since 2018. An American-born medical doctor of Nigerian heritage, he is the author of the award-winning novel “Beasts of No Nation” (2005) and co-founded the Nigeria-based magazine, Ventures Africa. (6/21) | More


For Portugal’s Porto Photography Biennial (May 18-July 2), Brazilian artists Dori Nigro and Paulo Pinto presented “Vento (A)Mar,” a site-specific multimedia installation at Centro Hospitalar Conde Ferreira that was censored by the host venue. The exhibition explores the family origins of the artists and addresses the legacy of slavery, directly referencing that the hospital’s founding patron profited from slavery. (6/9). | Hyperallergic


Envisioned by Solange Knowles, the Small Matter Glassware Collection, “put well-designed glassware into the hands of people that look like her and I, at a reasonable price point,” glass artist Jason McDonald told the New York Times. The prices ranged from $129 to $187. | Photo by Chelsea Kyle


Solange Knowles and Saint Heron, the creative agency and cultural organization she founded, collaborated with artist Jason McDonald on a line of glassware. The limited edition collection, five goblets and stemware glasses designed by Knowles—a total of 198 pieces—were all handblown by McDonald, who is based in Tacoma, Wash. The Small Matter Glassware Collection sold out before coverage of the project was appeared in the Times. | New York Times


Book Forum announced that it is back, in partnership with The Nation. A new summer issue will be published in August 2023 Launched as a literary supplement to Artforum in 1994, Bookforum ceased publication after Artforum was acquired by Penske Media Corporation in December 2022. Hilton Als appeared on the cover of the last issue (December/January/February 2023). | New York Times


Several looks from the Louis Vuitton Men’s Spring/Summer 2024 collection feature the work of artist Henry Taylor in the form of small embroidered figures paired with the LV logo, creating unique textiles. | via Louis Vuitton


Pharrell Williams‘s debut as creative director of Louis Vuitton Menswear included a collaboration with Los Angeles artist Henry Taylor. The Louis Vuitton Men’s Spring/Summer 2024 runway show was staged June 20 on the Pont Neuf Bridge overlooking the Seine River. The collection is comprised of classic silhouettes, odes to Virginia where Williams grew up and fell in love with music and fashion, and innovative interpretations of LV’s heritage Damier motif with bold colorways and a pixelated camouflage. A selection of chocolate brown suiting, denim jackets and pants, leather caps, and the luxury brand’s Alma handbag feature tiny portraits by Taylor, small embroidered images of important people in the artist’s life. (In a 2020 collab, Taylor’s portrait of his friend, the late artist Noah Davis, adorned an LV Capucines handbag.) In addition, Taylor appears in the opening scene of the runway show film. (6/20). | More


FASHION | Dressed in Louis Vuitton, artist Henry Taylor opens the runway show film for Pharrell Williams’s debut Men’s Spring/Summer 2024 collection with a brief conversation on the banks of the Seine with Jerrod Carmichael. The comedian begins by asking Taylor, “Do you ever admit to yourself how much you want it?” Music performed by a live orchestra and a gospel choir accompany the runway presentation. Later, Pharrell performed with Jay-Z. | Video by Louis Vuitton


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